This post was written by guest blogger Faith Lin, Community Relations Manager at Cisco.
Pro Bono is a fancy term for donating your unique skill set — as an engineer, program manager, salesperson, and more — to partner with nonprofit organizations and help take their impact to the next level. It’s an opportunity to sharpen leadership skills while also making a meaningful impact in your community or around the world.
Over the past year, employees from Cisco Global Virtual Sales and Customer Success answered the call to “donate your skills, not just your time.”
In honor of Pro Bono Week, we’d like to highlight several pro bono volunteer superstars who used their expertise to help organizations that work every day to impact people, society, and the planet.
John Ellis, Curt Rask, and Ron Brinton chose to help Learning Together, a nonprofit whose mission is to meet the developmental, educational, and health needs of young children of all abilities. The trio not only simplified the organization’s administrative processes — automating processes and tools to enhance volunteer and donor stewardship — but also uncovered an opportunity to connect Learning Together with Cisco technology.
With their background in network security and storage consultation, the group enlisted the help of engineers at Cisco, who enthusiastically joined in on the pro bono activity. Their collective work led to Learning Together receiving a technology grant of Cisco Meraki wireless, switching, and security gear, which will improve the quality of experience for Learning Together staff and supporters.
“My experience with skills-based volunteering was tremendous. In the past, I have always just contributed financially, but getting involved in a project and using my technical and business skills had a much bigger impact on Learning Together and therefore was far more rewarding for me.”
– John Ellis
When Rafael Manjarrez learned of the opportunity to donate his skills, he knew which organization he wanted to partner with — Inroads Mexico. The nonprofit has provided training, mentoring, and employment opportunities to almost 2,000 students from low-income families.
Rafael and his team, including Luis Parra and Antonio Gonzalez, consulted Inroads on its customer success journey. The team’s diverse experience has helped Inroads improve its sales skills, streamline its processes, and integrate Cisco technology like Webex Meetings into its daily operations.
“I feel fulfilled when I use my skills and knowledge to aid nonprofit organizations.”
– Rafael Manjarrez
North Carolina Science Olympiad
North Carolina Science Olympiad (NCSO), a nonprofit organization with the mission to attract and retain the pool of K-12 students entering science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees and careers, was selected to host the 2020 Science Olympiad national tournament.
With his sales background, Gregory Woloszczuk was motivated to help NCSO with their fundraising efforts, as the organization needed to secure US$2 million by early 2019. He created a fundraising guide for Area Directors, collaborated with local media to donate radio and digital advertising, and recruited a team to conduct a Thank-a-Thon for competition volunteers.
“It was great working on a project related to one of my passions — education. I believe with a strong education — especially in STEM — it opens doors and helps people become self-sufficient. Education can never be taken away and is a core building block for future success. It enables people to become all they can be.” – Gregory Woloszczuk
Inspired by these stories? Join Cisco’s culture of giving and volunteer your own time and skills as a Cisco employee. Here’s how: